Caraway (Carum carvi) is an aromatic plant that is native to Europe and Western Asia. The seeds, actually the dried fruit of the caraway plant, have been used for thousands of years for health and culinary purposes. Traditionally, caraway has been used for its ability to support the digestive system. It can help with flatulence, indigestion, heartburn, stomach aches, and morning sickness. Caraway is generally known to be an antioxidant, carminative herb with antispasmodic and astringent properties. Some countries have traditional uses for caraway such as for supporting breastfeeding, diuretic, or as an anti-parasitic herb.
Additionally, this spice is loaded with healthful nutrients. One tablespoon of caraway can supply approximately 4-5 percent of your daily intake of several minerals. These include copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, calcium, and zinc. It also is a good source of fiber.
Research is ongoing, but studies are showing it may be useful for weight loss. This is partly due to its ability to support healthy blood sugar levels. Animal studies have demonstrated it may help reduce symptoms of stress as well. Additionally, caraway oil has also been shown to be a potent antimicrobial.
Caraway is relatively easy to add into modern diets through baking and cooking. For example, caraway is often used in rye bread, and it can be found in other baked goods like soda bread, cookies, or other desserts. Generally, half a teaspoon to one tablespoon of caraway is well-tolerated by most folks. If you feel you are not getting enough in your diet, it can also be purchased as a supplement. Unless you are under a doctor’s supervision, do not ingest large amounts of this herb if you have liver or gallbladder problems.
- Hill, Ansley. Healthline. (N.D.). “Everything You Need to Know About Caraway.” Revised December 6, 2019. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/caraway#nutrients
- Johri, R K. (2011). “Cuminum Cyminum and Carum carvi: An Update.” Pharmacognosy Reviews, 5(9): 63-72. doi:10.4103/0973-7847.79101 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3210012/
- Mahboubi, Mohaddese. (2019). “Caraway as Important Medicinal Plants in Management of Diseases.” Natural products and bioprospecting, 9(1): 1-11. doi:10.1007/s13659-018-0190-x
- Kazemipoor, Mahnaz et al. (2013). “Antiobesity Effect of Caraway Extract on Overweight and Obese Women: a Randomized, Triple-blind, Placebo-controlled Clinical Trial.” Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, eCAM 2013: 928582. doi:10.1155/2013/928582
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